Fly Now! The National Air and Space Museum Poster Collection

Throughout their history, posters have been a significant means of mass communication, often with striking visual effect. Wendy Wick Reaves, the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery Curator of Prints and Drawings, comments that "sometimes a pictorial poster is a decorative masterpiece-something I can't walk by without a jolt of aesthetic pleasure. Another might strike me as extremely clever advertising … But collectively, these 'pictures of persuasion,' as we might call them, offer a wealth of art, history, design, and popular culture for us to understand. The poster is a familiar part of our world, and we intuitively understand its role as propaganda, promotion, announcement, or advertisement."

Reaves' observations are especially relevant for the impressive array of aviation posters in the National Air and Space Museum's 1300+ artifact collection. Quite possibly the largest publicly-held collection of its kind in the United States, the National Air and Space Museum's posters focus primarily on advertising for aviation-related products and activities. Among other areas, the collection includes 19th-century ballooning exhibition posters, early 20th-century airplane exhibition and meet posters, and twentieth-century airline advertisements.

The posters in the collection represent printing technologies that include original lithography, silkscreen, photolithography, and computer-generated imagery. The collection is significant both for its aesthetic value and because it is a unique representation of the cultural, commercial and military history of aviation. The collection represents an intense interest in flight, both public and private, during a significant period of its technological and social development.

Your Search Results (1 to 12 of 24)

  • The Orient is Hong Kong. Jet BOAC
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Sponsor: British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC)
    Hong Kong Tourist Association
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Jamaica. Fly BOAC
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Sponsor: British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC)
    Date: circa 1954
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Jet by BOAC to the Orient
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Sponsor: British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC)
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • The Orient is Hong Kong. Jet BOAC
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Sponsor: British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC)
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Hong Kong by BOAC
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Artist: Arnold Fujita
    Sponsor: British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC)
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • New Zealand Fly There By BOAC
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Sponsor: British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC)
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Jamaica Jet There by BOAC
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Sponsor: British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC)
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • The Big Round World of BOAC - Stop Off in Africa
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Sponsor: British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC)
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Jet BOAC to Britain
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Sponsor: British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC)
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Jet BOAC to Scotland
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Manufacturer: Beric Press Ltd.
    Sponsor: British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC)
    Publisher: British Travel Association
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Fly BOAC to Africa
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Sponsor: British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC)
    Date: circa 1954
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Bahama Islands. Jet BOAC
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Sponsor: British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC)
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality